Samarkand | Silk road – Travel Diaries – Uzbekistan | Day 4
I woke up to the sound of my alarm at 5 in the morning. Its day four and the constant traveling has taken its toll on me. I wanted to stay in bed, sleep and get some rest. But we were traveling to Samarkand, the second largest city of Uzbekistan and I definitely didn’t want to miss that.
After an early breakfast, we left the hotel at 6.30 and made our way to the Tashkent train station. Once there, we got in line to go through security and waited as our tour guide got the tickets needed for our journey.
Afrosiyob, Uzbekistan’s premier bullet train travels at a speed of 250km/hr. It has VIP, Business and Economy classes and a restaurant car. The economy class tickets cost $15 one way (120000 So’m). At exactly 7, the gates opened and we made our way to the train. Everyone on the train was provided with a cup of warm tea. The distance between the two cities is 344 kilometers and it takes approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach Samarkand.
Once we were out of the station we made our way to meet our local tour guides from Samarkand who would be showing us around for the day.
The first stop for the day was the statue of Amir Temur. The massive size and the location of the statue shows the place he holds in the hearts of the people there.
We then walked to the Gur E Amir Mausoleum, the graveyard of the Great Amir Temur. Gur E Amir is Persian for Tomb of King. The beautiful complex with emerald blue domes contains the tombs of Amir Temur, his sons and grandsons.
The exterior decorations on the walls and ceilings consist of blue and white tiles organized into mosaic-like work against a background of terracotta bricks.
The interiors are just as impressive as the outside. The main chamber is decorated with painted plaster, glazed bricks and gilding.
We were then off to Registan Square, one of the most beautiful squares in the world. It is located in the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand of Timurid Dynasty. Registan in the Persian language means sandy place or desert.
Before the three beautiful monuments were erected, this place was covered in sand and it was here where people gathered for royal proclamations and also public executions.
The three buildings that now stand tall and beautiful in the center of the square are named Ulughbek Madrassah (1417-1420’s), Sher-Dor Madrassah (1619-1636) and Tilya-Kori Madrassah (1646-1660). All three madrassahs have their own unique decor with its delicate filigree patterns. And the glistening blue domes will leave you blinded in the sunlight.
To know more about the Registan Square and the ensemble click the links below.
In 2001, The Registan ensemble was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Post lunch we were off to the Central bazaar to do a bit of shopping. The sides of the bazaar were lined with stores that sold beautiful handicrafts and artifacts. The bazaar was a 20-minute walk from the Registan square and we spotted the Bibi Khanum Mausoleum on the side. But as we were running short on time we couldn’t stop and take pictures of the beautiful building.
Around 4.30 we rush back to the train station and go through the same process as in the morning. The train leaves at 5.30 and we reach Tashkent at 7.40. We headed to Chez pub for dinner before going back to the hotel.
WHAT FASCINATED ME?
I found that most of the older women there had gold teeth. And it’s not just their teeth that are gold, they have hearts of pure gold as well. I just can’t seem to get over the fact that they are the most loving people one will ever come across. Their namastes and smiles will make anybody’s day.
One other thing that I noticed was that bridal shoots in front of historic sites and monuments are very common there.
- Uzbekistan is known to have fresh dry fruits and nuts. So be sure to buy plenty of it.
- If you do decide to use their train service, do not forget to carry your passport with you. You cannot get through security if you do not have it with you.
- If you visit bazaars, be prepared to bargain. They charge a foreigner way more than what the actual price is.
- Their carpets and ceramic ware are beautiful. So if possible, make sure you bring them home.
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